As of this writing, there are now 1.8 billion websites on the internet. Just today, there are 6.3 million blog posts written. The worldwide web is a volatile place — it has no doubt contributed to the advancement of the 21st century, but it has also been a powerful tool for misinformation and a lot of falsities.
One of the biggest aspects of society that receive the most amount of fake news is health, wellness, and business, which are peppered with a lot of inaccuracies and false data. Is it any wonder why the anti-vax movement continues to grow, or why so many have fallen for the lie that the earth is flat? There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, and we need to be savvy and able to discern what’s real from what’s not especially when our health and money are on the line.
Here are some of the worst internet advice you shouldn’t follow.
Focus on exercise over diet when trying to lose weight.
While both are key to fitness and health, exercise is not more important than a proper diet when trying to lose weight—in fact, research suggests the opposite is true. The reason is that all our calories come in from eating, while the calories we shed are so much fewer when we exercise. The key is taking in fewer calories while exercising regularly. Exercise does have its place in weight loss, but when our goal is to shed a few pounds, a proper diet is more crucial.
Property investment can make you easy money.
When done right, real estate investment can be incredibly lucrative. But it will take a lot of knowledge about the system, getting the right kind of finance, and leveraging long-term buy-and-hold residential rentals. It’s certainly not easy money, and you will need to work hard and fully understand the risks and how you can avoid them.
Treat real illnesses with essential oils.
With the rise of the internet also came a lot of medical hoaxes and false information. One of the movements that have been gaining traction over the years is the use of essential oils to cure diseases. There’s nothing inherently harmful about using aromatherapy, especially if they’re used as a self-care remedy, but when they’re marketed as legitimate cures for real illnesses like cancer, depression, or diabetes, that’s when it becomes problematic. Some studies indicate that they can help alleviate headaches, especially the peppermint variant. But they can never replace modern medicine and a solid treatment plan to cure specific diseases.
You don’t need sunscreen when you’re not out in the sun, or when the sun isn’t out.
Regardless of the weather, climate, or temperature, and even when you’re just staying home, your skin will benefit greatly from wearing sunscreen. Damaging UV rays are always present, and they can pass through the clouds, and even through glass windows. When your skin is continuously exposed to harmful UV rays, the damage may accumulate over the years and it may cause aging and even skin cancer. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and keep reapplying every few hours if you’re staying out in the sun or sitting by a window for a long time.
Unplug from the digital world or switch off your phone when traveling.
You will see this advice on a lot of well-meaning wellness or travel blogs. While unplugging from the rest of the world does have its place, completely ditching your phone while traveling can be unsafe, especially when you’re traveling alone or going to a place you’re not entirely familiar with. You need to be able to contact the authorities or 911 if anything goes sideways, as well as your loved ones back home, in case anything happens on their end. At the same time, your phone is a great way to document memories and places you might not be able to return to for a long time.
Horizontal stripes make you look big or heavy.
This has been such a widely accepted piece of fashion advice that so many people have ditched horizontal stripes altogether. But even science says this is essentially untrue — according to the Helmholtz illusion, a square made up of horizontal lines appears narrower and taller than a similar square made up of vertical lines. When done right, horizontal lines can enhance a figure instead of worsening it.
The key to separating great advice from the not so good or downright false ones is by fact-checking everything. If a headline or piece of advice seems suspicious, double-check every possible resource and read up on every link you can find. Now more than ever, we cannot be flippant about our health and finances. We need to be smart about the advice we listen to if we’re going to survive this pandemic and recession.